Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – 1872


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Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel, GCB, OM (14 June 1809 – 17 January 1904) was a British admiral and son of the 4th Earl of Albemarle. Below is an excerpt from his memoirs as published in one of the books in our library ‘Sir Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet – by Sir Algernon Edward West’ -1905.  Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – 1872

The Terrible Breach of Red-Tape Rules


Sir Henry KeppelHarrys life afloat was now at an end; but in August [1872] he was appointed to the command at Plymouth, with Algernon Heneage as his flag-captain and Lord Charles Beresford as his flag-lieutenant. Coming from church one Sunday morning, soon after the hoisting of his flag, he met the Duke of Grafton in sad distress. He had arrived the previous evening, with his invalid wife, at Lord Mount-Edgcumbe’s winter villa, situated by the sea, and snugly sheltered from everything but the sun. The invalid Duchess, who had suffered from terrible insomnia for months, had gone to bed, and was enjoying a real sleep, when she was thrown into violent hysterics by the discharge of cannon in rapid succession. The Duke implored Harry, if it were possible, to stop the daylight gun the next morning, as he was alarmed at the probable consequences. Harry at once undertook to comply with his request, and promised to get Sir Charles Staveley, Commander-in-Chief at Devonport, to do likewise.

Now there was within sound of the guns a factory, whose workmen regulated their morning attendance by the firing of the Admiral’s gun. The manufacturer at once complained to the Admiralty of the cessation of the gunfire at daylight, and the Admiralty, alarmed at this terrible breach of red-tape rules, at once forbade the omission of the daylight gun. Daylight, however, is not made until the event is first communicated to the Admiral; so Harry arranged with his flag-captain that the daylight should be made at hours convenient to the invalid, and nothing more was heard from the aggrieved manufacturer.

Excerpt from Sir Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet – by Sir Algernon Edward West – 1905


Further Reading and External Links

Henry Keppel on Wikipedia